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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines developments in the field of electrodynamics from William Thomson and James Clerk Maxwell to Heinrich Hertz. It begins with a discussion of Michael Faraday’s work, focusing on his discovery of what was later termed ‘dielectric capacity’ and his role in the birth of field theory. It then considers Thomson’s unification of Faraday’s understanding of both electro- and magnetostatics with energy conservation, along with Maxwell’s extension of Thomson’s structure to cover electrodynamics, which for the first time brought to the fore issues concerning the electric current. It also describes Maxwellian electrodynamics and electromagnetic theory, Hermann Helmholtz’s development of a different form of electrodynamics, and Hertz’s work on electric waves.

Keywords: electrodynamics, William Thomson, James Clerk Maxwell, Heinrich Hertz, Michael Faraday, energy conservation, electric current, electromagnetic theory, Hermann Helmholtz, electric waves

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